I Keep Forgetting

I keep forgetting 
there's nothing to remember.
Silence, then a thrush.
A fuss of hummingbirds,
a deeper silence.
Clouds dissolving into blue.
Nothing twice.

Painting by Ernst Haeckel



It took me much of a lifetime to realize this. So I share it now to save some time for those who might wrestle with the same issues. If this is not your concern, or if it offends you, just leave it. I share it with love.

When your connection with Being is established, you have no further need for a 'spiritual movement.' Being flows directly into your heart, without any intermediary. No need to go to an ashram. You Are the ashram. With every breath, you flower. From belly to crown, your stem imbibes the sap of the Guru's grace, so there is no need to chase after him anywhere else. You always have the practice, the sadhana, that the Teacher gave you, wherever you go.

Now it becomes crystal clear that the karma of the Teacher is completely different from the karma of the organization established in his or her name. If it's your karma to work for the movement, then let the work unfold. But know that it is not 'higher' than any other work. It's just karma. If it's no longer your karma, respectfully let it go. The greatest service you can give humanity, is not to work for a movement, either spiritual or political, but to radiate Being. Radiate Being from the boundless core of your own heart.

Another liberating flower photo by Kristy Thompson



I pray that you will flower
in darkness,
planted in the grace
of your body.
Freedom is your nature,
joy your birthright,
healing the rhythm
of your heartbeat.
Every proton in your flesh
is the kiss of an ancient star,
Each electron a wave
on the ocean of compassion.
Whose compassion?
Don't ask.
Names don't count
in this moment between
waking and sleep.
Who sleeps?
Don't ask.
Feel only an exquisite tenderness
for those who insist you have
no right to be happy.
May the golden fingers
of your vagus nerve
hold you like an offering
of delicious fruit.
All night, be breathed.

Photo by Josie RavenWing

This Is Not A Poem


This is not a poem, just a murmur

whose poor thoughts won't reach

the edge of the page.
I just want you to know,

in the first language of scripture
Spirit and Breath are one word.
Wisdom is Sophia, the soul in
your breathing, and if you are awake,

each exhalation is the Holy Spirit,

the sigh of the Creator in creation.

Goddess Shakti is your inhalation,
who birthed the sun in the beginning
when She danced with the deep green shadow.

And though her womb enfolds

the galaxies, She whirls
inside your body, trickles down

your vertebrae, weaving
awareness into flesh.
Call her the dignity

of what flows without trying,

the wind that awakens at sunset.

honey sweating from a comb.

Call her the delight of Ruu,

the Chi who dwells in your vagus nerve
like the flame on a wick.
What are you made of, really?
It is like finespun cotton fiber
instantly consumed by her golden spark.
Your breathing ignites the stars

on invisible strands of pure attention.

Tend her fire in the temple of your lungs

and you will permeate the earth

like fragrance in a flower.

Become her whisper, "B'ishm'illa."
Honor her by listening to bees.
Their humming is the voice
of the Magdalene.

But you will hear her most beautiful name

in the rising and falling of your chest.
Friend, just swim in this river of amazement.

Let it pour down your hollow places
like wine that is saved for the end of the wedding.

How do I know this?

I am breathed.


Painting by Marie Laparco


Like A Mountain

He became pure consciousness. One who experiences this
merely for a moment is disinterested even in the delights
of heaven. ~Yoga Vashista
Walk like a mountain.
Sit like a cloud.
Rest like a pilgrim
who just now arrives.
Breathe out, O so gently
gazing at creation,
the ancestors, the unborn,
all gods, all bodies,
O so gently
flowering, perishing
on the still mirror
of this moment
just before
you breathe in.
Yes, friend,
your work is amazement.

Photo: Mt. Rainier from a hill near my house.

Knowing Makes You Small

Knowing makes you small. 
Not knowing opens 
all your windows and doors, 
letting the wind blow 
seeds in. 
Some see the Friend
and suddenly pitch 
dirt-works and moats 
of suspicion. 
Those walls are made of 
the mind's chatter. 
But some see an intimate stranger, 
musky with kindness,
pungent as mushrooms,
who visits this planet from a world
deep inside the atom
of sod.
Why not give your breath away
and fall into dazzling silence?
From this moment on,
be breathed by an Other
who is nearer than “I.”
The Sun always floods us
with just enough splendor,
sending a perfect beam
for every bulb.
It all depends on
how ready we are to burst open
and fill the air
with the fragrance of Unknowing.
Listen, friend, this world
is a dry cocoon.
Soon it will crack and shatter,
spilling upward into golden morning
these crinkled rainbows
you've been holding too long
in your chest.
Give up certainty.
Just unfurl.

Watercolor by Marney Ward




Adau Bhagavan shabda rasahi: 'In the beginning the Lord
created the universe through a stream of sound.' ~Vedic text

You know the sound of blood, that drum.

You know the sound of breathing out,

that river of diamonds.

And the sound of your mind
trying to make music out of shattered

mirrors and windows.

But have you heard the sound of Being

as it overflows the rim of the grail?

Not the feeble background hum
of the first moment,
not an echo, nor an idea.
I see you before you were born
floating through a pit, a silent hollow,
tethered by the umbilicus
to what, to whom you cannot know.

But you would like to know, wouldn't you?

So you reach out a warm finger
and swirl it round the singing bowl
of Andromeda, careful not to spill
its bright worlds.

You play the glass harmonium 

of all the galaxies until
the amniotic fluid of the universe

trembles like an unstruck carillon,

utterly inaudible
because it resonates in emptiness.

No, that is not the sound of Being.

You must get down and get born to hear it
gushing like a sudden wound,
tearing the veil of the continuum
in the silence of the void,
a terrible ecstatic cry of
"Kali Ma! O Kali Ma!"
This is the ineluctable chime.
This is the sound of Being,

the breathless kiss of consciousness

upon your own body of stars.

NASA photo, Andromeda galaxy

True Silence

In meditation, silence is Mother. ~Amma Karunamayi
Silence is supreme administrative power. ~Maharishi

The real Virgin Mother is mystical eternal silence.
~Valentinus the Gnostic

I love your silences. They are like mine. ~Anais Ninn

Let us speak of true Silence. No, it is not a negation. Not the silence of suppressed speech, which is no silence at all. Suppressed speech, like repressed thought, is a scream. And the more we repress, the louder our voiceless keening.

Let us tell of the inmost Silence, omnipresent, effective, whether spoken or not. Silence infusing the best words with Truth. Silence in a real mantra, guiding our attention to the hollow in the seed, through Winter root, Spring flower, Autumn leaf.  
In the hymn from chapter two of Epistle to Ephesians are some of the most ancient verses in Christian scripture. They tell us that Christ "emptied himself." The Greek word is "kinosis." When we empty ourselves in prayer, we enter true Silence, the Silence that was there before God said, "Let there be light."

The emptiness that pervades all forms, this silence gushes tears from the spring of joy in the womb of creation. This Silence is the mother of the Word, the mother of poetry, the mother of music.

Painting, Mary Magdalene by Georges de La Tour

From The Barrel

This is my spiritual discipline.
I give myself permission to eat
whatever is delicious.
I act my age: not even
one moment old.
I vow to dance
with the perfect stranger.
Every morning
I breathe away the dream
and gaze inside,
smiling at the radiant mirror
of my heart.
Then I go out in the world
to embrace my seven billion lovers,
satisfying each one
with a feast of light, a taste of wine
from the barrel of foolishness.

Painting by Karen Fleschler

Parable of the Pub

Jesus, Krishna, Buddha and Mohammad went to a pub. It was quite an evening. When it was very late, the tavern keeper brought them the bill. They began to argue.

Jesus looked at Krishna and said, "Purnamadah purnamidam. You claim your pot is full no matter how much we take out, so you pay the bill!"

Krishna looked at Buddha and said, "You don't cling to anything because you claim its all Emptiness. Why don't you empty your pockets?"

Buddha looked at Jesus and said, "You call yourself the lamb, and talk about sacrifice. You could at least pay our tab."

Then all three of them stared at the Prophet in silence. "Don't look at me," he said. "I don't drink." They kept staring. "Well all right," he said, "I'll admit I took a taste, but I didn't swallow."

That did it. They erupted into a heated argument until The Tavern Keeper, who wanted his money, walked over to their table. "Calm down," he said, "and listen to me. The wine is Love. The tipsier you get the more you give, and the more you give the tipsier you get, until you're as drunk as God. Therefore the most hammered among you should act like it and pay the bill for everybody!"

Hearing that, all four of them emptied their pockets, paying the tab and honoring the tavern keeper with an enormous tip. Then, linking arms, they staggered out into the night, singing a crazy song of friendship that no one can seem to remember.

God Is Not An OBE

"Glorify God in your body." ~1 Corinthians 6:20

"Your body is a precious gift from nature, from God. Honor your body." ~Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
God is not an out of body experience. Does this flower have to get out of its body to become divine radiance? Of course not. Creator-Spirit seeks an ordinary miraculous blossoming weed to express Herself in matter.

Mother Matter is God-Consciousness delighting in form. With what rapture does the Divine delight in your eyes, the curve of your lips, the roundness of your belly!

You can never be out of your body. The softest wave of your anatomy is the fabric of space itself. Do you have any edges? Does your body not enfold every stranger? All races and tribes co-mingle in the rivers of your blood. No one is excluded from the fireside gathering of your tribal heartbeat. You share 70% of your DNA with a fruit fly, 65% with a banana. Your nervous system entangles forests, deserts, mountains. Your pulse aligns the planets. Your breath turns the galaxy.

"Ano raniyan, mahato mahiyan" declares the Upanishad: "one atom of the smallest is greater than the greatest." A synapse between two neurons in your brain, flashing with this moment of awareness, condenses the energy of all the stars in Andromeda. In a single photon of your flesh, choir upon choir of heavenly beings stand ranked in shimmering fire, petals in a vast chrysanthemum.

As you fall asleep tonight, and as you wake in the morning, savor the rising and falling of your chest. It is the ocean of love.

Photo art by Kristy Thompson

Temple of Stars

“Purify the temple with that shower
by which the star people of the Milky Way
have come here.” ~Rig Veda, Suktah 49, II, 25

And what if the temple is your body? And what if this breath is that shower which pours all the stars down your spine? Your subtlest exhalation is a ripple on the ocean of cosmic existence. It's infinitesimal tremor touches the rim of the galaxy, bathing all the worlds. Then it returns to you, bearing the intimate music of the distant spheres. No effort is required. In fact, it is not even your breath, but a breath of the Goddess. All that is required is a little awareness. This most perfect and powerful spiritual practice was given to you just before birth by the first guru, your mother.

Photo by Joy M. Ibizarose


Words by A.K. LaMotte, collage by Rashani Réa

You Are The Wine


You are the wine

that cannot return

to the grape.
Some ferment has turned you

Thousands have been crushed

for the sake of this breath,

bouquet of oak and rose,

cinnamon and musk,

Spring rain on withered hay.

The tree of the Vedas,

the whole vine of knowledge

entangled in the hollow

of a tiny seed,

the place your forehead goes

when you bow.

Astronomy and silence,

wisdom and tipsiness,

what's the difference?

Just say thank you

and savor yourself.

Art by William Adolphe Bouguereau

I Don't Need To Hear Your Story

I don't need to hear your story. I will listen of course, just to be kind, but I'm pretty sure I've already heard it. Our "personal" myths are not as unique as we think. Most of them are versions of the same old story, the most popular one in the world: My Tale Of Woe.

The universe doesn't need to hear your story either, but the universe will echo it back to you if you insist. Because the universe is an echo-chamber. That's its job. Like an efficient post office, the universe will return to sender, and you will live your story again and again.
But if you're fortunate, you will get tired of your story. You will wake up and realize it never turns out any differently, no matter how often you tell it. And if you're very fortunate, you'll meet someone who will say, "shut up!" They will say it in a gentler way of course, with the mere power of Presence, and you will stop story telling. You will become hopeless.

In true compassion, the Listener will offer you something more profound than any tale of woe: the silence of pure Being. You will let this silence penetrate your body, permeating every nerve, overflowing the nucleus of each cell.

To give up your story is to give up hope. Hopeless surrender will alchemize your ancient pain much better than telling a story about it. Hopeless surrender will dissolve your pain into vibrant available energy, the energy of awareness.

But alchemy requires the dark. Alchemy happens not in the light of wishful thoughts and prayers, not in the repetition of cheery affirmations, but in the abyss. It happens not above but below, not beyond, but deep inside the fibrous warp and woof of your flesh.

Here you transcend, not out there but here in the untamed root, at the subnuclear quantum level of holy matter, in the black hole at the core of every atom. You will touch pure Being, not in the mind but at a cellular level.

Darkness is not the opposite of light, but the womb of light. The light of joy is born not as a story, not as a memory or an image in the mind, but as an electrical power in your bones, in your marrow, when awareness burns through trauma, and transmutes it.

Now you are alive without a story. The whole cosmos rushes in to fill the vacuum where hope used to be, where time used to be, where your tale of woe used to be. You can't explain anything anymore, thank God. There is nothing to complain about. Each instant is an inundation of wonder, a feral explosion of softness, a catastrophic dissolution where nothing remains but love.



Think softly,

               more softly,




until your breath dissolves 

          in the hollow heart

that has two chambers,

          one for "I"

    and one for "Thou,"

one for dawn and one

             for evening.

    A tenderness

at the threshold of creation,

     between silence

          and the Word,

between stillness

      and trembling.

Dew forms

        on the rose's mouth

    just before sunrise.

         I am trying to describe

the way your stem feels

     when a blue moth settles

          on the jasmine petal.

The tremor of the thread

               in your spine

         when you remember

     that the sky has kissed

        your brown body

 every moment since birth.

     The place where all

               the laws of nature

(who are really gods and devas)

     entangle in your peritoneum

               so goldenly their 

gentleness becomes 

     indomitable power.

          Think softly,

     more softly.


They murmur with

     a single voice,

               and so it is.

Watercolor by Marney Ward

Become A Leaf

The world out there will only make you
famous and miserable.
It is the husk.
You are the golden nectar inside.
To ferment the sweetness in your silent core,
humble yourself through serving.
Do anything kind.
Become a leaf, kiss the sidewalk.
If someone with even an ember in their gaze
holds out the palm of true wanting,
give them the weightless stars.
Even better, teach them how
loss becomes healing.
At least for this moment,
remember to ache and yearn.
Whatever the question was,
the answer is to permeate the earth
with your Being.
You are a stone in the meadow
glistening and fissured with quartz,
a nurse-log full of seedlings
caressed by the Winter moon,
a chrysalis on the ash twig
throbbing in the absence of a leaf.
Your faith is green.
Your marrow is fire.
Feel every atom as a tumult of patience
awaiting the breath of the midnight Goddess
who comes
to brush her silken fur 
against your breastbone.
All I have ever wanted to share with you
is this sensation, this kiss
pressed on the luminous body
inside your body of shadows,
the tremor of Unknowing
that is your soul.

Painting by Susan Seddon Boulet

Happy Birthday To Me


I am wishing Happy Birthday to myself.
Dear Freddy, you are never one moment old.
Today the laws of nature break themselves laughing.
Your behavior is totally unacceptable,
but You are perfect.
May the whole blue sky fill every cranny
of your dense little brain.
How do you pack sparkling galaxies
into black squirmy nerve cells?
Sing this poem until hummingbirds return.
Who cares if an old fool mumbles in a voice
of endless zeros with no "1" before them?
Rejoice in the ancient ripening of Now.
It took the cardamom seed all year
to attain supreme emptiness,
but you were unborn that way.
Distant stars fell through the soft spot
in the crown of your skull like rebel angels.
May you ever return to the font in your body
where shivering wounded wolves
curl up to heal themselves.
May you always smell the snow melt in their fur.
The terrible hunter, Time,
may he never come here.
Let the lips of the persimmon void
burst open, spilling luscious seeds
of poetry with no creator.
Your blood is fermenting, Freddy.
How did that happen?
You must have been playing
with your breath again.
You must have been secretly touching
the name of the Goddess
under your breastbone.
You've been hopelessly disobedient
but that is why I love you.
I wrote my commandments on stone,
but you became the stone
and started pulsing softly, sucking
seven planets and a moon
through your belly button.
I am your Self, Freddy.
This secret must never be revealed.
Just whisper hints,
how you fill your darkness with
pearl and viridescent worlds
like the sweat of sweetness on a plum.
How you crush your hollow places into juice.
How amethysts and emeralds fall,
jagged and burning, out of your eyes.
Don't tell too much, Just say whether
it's all yearning, or gratitude.

Night Meditation

Just before you fall
asleep tonight
perform sanyama
on my smile.
Glance only
for an instant
at love's ancient face
in the mirror of your heart
and I will fill your body
with the laughter
of the silent stars.
Long for me ever
so lightly,
then let me disappear,
a ripple in the moon
on a forest pond.
Drop my name like
a pebble in the pool
of your aloneness.
Where Breath goes
to fold her wings.
Turn this elegant mud
into a flower,
oblivion into a kiss.
Then forget, forget.
This too is sacred practice.
When you hear
the tender calling
of the midnight owl
and gaze into the dark
within, beyond
the glittering houses,
the constellations of time,
I will be there.
I will be there
and you will almost
but not quite

*Sanyama: a subtle practice described by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras. At the most refined level of thought, on the threshold of the uncreated, drop a seed of intention into that fructifying silence, and let it go. In its very abandonment, you give the intention tremendous creative power.